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Successful People Have 2 Types of Goals, a Stanford-Trained Mindset Expert Says. Without Both, You Won't Reach Your Potential. Eduardo Briceño says that ambitious people often fall into a mental trap that prevents them from achieving long-term success.

By Frances Dodds Edited by Mark Klekas

Key Takeaways

  • Humans have what's called present bias, which means we overvalue the present and undervalue the future.
  • Your goals shouldn't just focus on outcomes or performance.
  • Scaling too quickly, along with being too performance-oriented, is a recipe for disaster.

There are two kinds of goals, and if you focus too much on one kind, you may find yourself running in place — stuck in the mud of your unrealized potential.

Mindset expert Eduardo Briceño knows this firsthand. When he was young, he set ambitious goals and achieved them: He went to an Ivy League school, then got a high-paying venture capital job on Wall Street. But as the years went on, he wasn't sure what he was moving toward. He was chronically stressed and empty, and even developed a distressing condition called myofascial pain syndrome.

He decided to go back to school to figure out what he really wanted to do — simultaneously completing a master's in education and an MBA at Stanford — and during that time, he met the famous psychologist Carol Dweck. She introduced him to a concept she'd developed called "growth mindset," which focuses on effort over achievement.

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